An Atmospheric Autumn Wedding by a Scottish Loch, With a Bride in Anna Campbell and a Dried Flower Headpiece

Dried flower headpiece

Joy. Such a small word to carry such meaning within its three short letters. If you’ve been planning and hoping for your wedding over these past months; if you’ve had to postpone, rethink, or even cancel those plans, joy may have been a feeling which has felt, at times, in very short supply.

Throughout it all, I’ve been in awe of how couples and wedding suppliers have dealt with everything that’s been thrown their way, and I’ve also been in awe of how Annabel, Tamryn, and a team of rather brilliant people have dedicated themselves to campaigning and lobbying for a roadmap out of this: for clarity and for parity. You may have seen the #WhatAboutWeddings hashtag in lots of different places lately, and I sincerely hope you have. To see all the resources in one place, there’s now also a dedicated What About Weddings website, too, which I encourage you to read and bookmark. We’re still here supporting you, and we see you.

When I opened the folder of images for today’s gorgeously atmospheric autumn wedding, joy was the word that first sprung to mind. You’ll see its radiant glow emanating from everyone involved in this beautiful homespun day on the shores of a misty Scottish loch.

Lauren Elliott Photography + Follow

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This is the wedding of Mr and Mrs Pollen: Jess, a Forensic Administrator, and James, a Therapy Assistant in amputee rehabilitation. This lovely couple were married on the 25 September 2019 at Argyll Chalets, in a ceremony at the edge of Loch Awe, Portsonachan in Argyll, Scotland.

“Loch Awe and Argyll Chalets are where we got engaged, and it was so beautiful we asked the owners if we could hold the wedding there. We are simple creatures (!) and were going to have an outdoor wedding at the edge of the loch in autumn, so went outdoorsy and autumnal with the decorations. We love the colours of reds, yellows, oranges and greens – everything went from there.”

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The couple’s choice of dried and preserved flowers in their bouquets, buttonholes and crowns was such a celebration of the season, with burnished golds and oranges, rich browns, coppers, and delicate whites in dried grasses and flowers like roses, craspedia and gypsophila, sprigs of wheat and oats, poppy and honesty seed heads, and pheasant feathers.

These were all the work of someone whose artistry and skill I’ve long been an admirer of – Geraldine from Folky Dokey.

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“We went on a search through Instagram and found Folky Dokey and thought that she produced the most incredible pieces. We were prepared to travel to wherever she was, but by pure chance it turned out she worked 5 minutes away from Jess’ parents.”

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Folky Dokey was able to take our very limited ideas to create something absolutely incredible and perfect. We knew the general colour scheme (autumn) and we wanted everything to look rustic and wild. The flowers stole the show, and everyone wanted to know where they were from.”

“The buttonholes were perfect, and worked perfectly with the suit design. Geraldine  even had spare flowers that we could use to decorate the cake with, and after a mini disaster, managed to make a replacement flower crown for one of the bridesmaids in a day. She truly went above and beyond throughout the entire process.”

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Jess took care of her own hair and make-up, and wore a selection of pretty, botanical inspired jewellery from Dixi. On her feet, she wore Dr. Marten’s ‘Voss’ sandals. In her hair, she wore Folky Dokey’s glorious dried flower crown, and the perfume she chose to wear was Marc Jacobs’ Daisy Dream.

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The bridesmaids looked amazing in multiway dresses in a shade of burnt orange from Etsy shop AtomAttire, which they wore with flower crowns to match Jess, and their own choice of shoes and jewellery.

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To choose her dress, Jess visited the brilliant Manchester boutique Jean Jackson Couture, where she had a wonderful time choosing her beauty of an Anna Campbell dress, and an all-round excellent experience from start to finish.

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“Jean Jackson Couture are a family run boutique, and you can really tell because they instantly make you feel at home. I was concerned about feeling like I was playing a bride rather than feeling like myself as a bride, and they made such an effort to listen to me, help me find the perfect dress, and made me feel so good about myself and the decisions we were making for the wedding.”

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All the dresses available through Jean Jackson Couture were beautiful, and I actually chose my dress in the first visit. It was so easy because there were so many options. I could not recommend them enough, they were honestly incredible, as are their dresses.”

Jess’ dress had lovely head-to-toe vintage inspired lace, including the shoulder straps and off-the-shoulder detailing, and a cross-over bodice with an elegant bow sash at the back.

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“I wanted a relaxed boho dress, one that I felt a bit wild in, but would be able to wear through the night. One surprise was that I didn’t realise how much I wanted a train until I tried the dress o, but the moment I saw it I was obsessed, and it buttoned up really easily so I could dance about without tripping over it.”

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James was keen to wear a bespoke suit for his wedding day, and in keeping with the autumnal theme, but for the outfit to be something he would also be happy to wear again and again. Together with Jess’ dad, he had a great experience with Richard Smith.

“We set about looking at places we could get bespoke suits made. We wanted to coordinate but not necessarily match. We found Richard’s shop after lots of Googling, and we are both very glad we did. Richard was brilliant walking us through how to make
a fully bespoke suit, right down to the thread and button placements on the shirts.”

“We had plenty of time (nearly 2 years) and after lots of appointments, we finally made up our minds and chose to go ahead with the designs.”

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“The actual making of the suits was very fast, it was just our indecisiveness, which is why we needed nearly 2 years! While he and I were designing our suits, Richard told me the type of material so that my father and Best Woman could get their suits made (local to them) which says a lot about Richard. His passion is the suits he makes and designs.”

On the big day we looked amazing, both suits looked fantastic and fit us perfectly. From start to finish working with Richard for these suits was the best decision of the wedding. Everyone commented on how fantastic our suits were, but most importantly my beautiful bride loved them.”

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To go with his fantastic suit, James wore brogue boots by Loake, and a pair of bee and honeycomb cufflinks by Etsy maker Sorcery Science.

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“Everyone made their own way to the edge of the loch. We were staying in the chalet closest to the loch, so while I was waiting at the loch edge, Jess and her father walked out of the chalet and down the aisle, prepared by myself, my groomsmen and friends with an aisle runner made from hemp with fabric maple leaves around it, with some paw prints on it from when the dogs escaped in the morning and ran down it before they were caught!”

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Together with her father, Jess walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of the song I See the Light by Oliver Moya Bueno, from the film Tangled. The couple’s celebrant was Argyll and Bute Council registrar Shona Brechin.

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“We chose not to write our own vows because I’m (James) better at putting my feelings onto paper and would win with the cutest vows! So we agreed to stick with the usual ones, however Jess surprised me by writing her own vows and reading them to me when we went for our couples shoot (Bride 1: Groom 0).”

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Jess and James also chose the touching poem Union by Robert Fulghum to include in their ceremony, because of its emphasis on friendship as the basis of a relationship, and of finding love in life’s small, day to day moments.

“I (groom) worked with Chelsea Knight at Green Lake Jewelry Works to create Jess’ engagement ring: a 14ct white gold palladium with two rough cut diamonds on either side of the centre stone, which was a Montana sapphire. After getting engaged, we loved the design and the engagement ring so much that we spoke to her again about creating wedding bands.”

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James’ Best Woman wore a smartly tailored waistcoat by Hemming Birds, in the same fabric as James’ suit, and the back of it was the same shade of deep, burnt orange as the bridesmaids’ dresses, too.

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I’m so pleased to be sharing the work of the wonderfully creative and talented Lauren Elliott for the first time on our pages today. What a magical job she did in not only capturing so many deeply emotional and intimate moments between Jess, James and their loved ones, but in beautifully conveying all of the wild, autumnal enchantment of the couple’s lochside day, too.

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“We would highly recommend Lauren. She did our engagement wedding photoshoot – we had no idea how to have a photoshoot, and she told us exactly where and how to stand, and which way to face. She was fantastic but also made the photos ‘Us’ by adding in some silly ones.”

Having her at the wedding was even better. She took fantastic photos (even though she was also a guest) she was always there at the right moment to take a photo, but also wasn’t noticeable so you didn’t feel ‘on show’.”

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“When we went away for our couple’s shoot, she took us to the most amazing place to get fantastic photos – it was magical.”

Jess managed to tread in the biggest hole of sludgy mud which is her all over, and I got a photo with a can of macaroni cheese that was just sitting on a wall where we were! Basically we were silly because we felt completely at ease. Finally we managed to persuade her to be in a shot just down the road where we posed Charlie’s Angels style. The whole experience was amazing and perfect. Lauren was always professional, but also fun and knew how to keep us relaxed.”

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Jess and James first met when studying at Bangor University, becoming a couple in May 2012, and inseparable ever since. They became engaged on their fifth anniversary.

“I proposed at the edge of Loch Awe, with floating lanterns (on the loch and in the air) and decorated the front of the chalet with fairylights because Jess loves the movie Tangled.”

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Anna Goley from Atomic Lemon Creative designed Jess and James’ save the dates and invitations, and the table plan was hand lettered on paper that had been aged to look like parchment, and then strung from mini wooden pegs by Jess’ mum. The board backdrop itself was made by Jess’ dad.

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Place settings were sliced logs with guest’s names written on them, which also doubled as favours, and these were designed and made by James, and his mother and father-in-law. James also made miniature autumnal trees as table centrepieces, which looked absolutely lovely!

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When it came to wedding cake, cake connoisseur James chose a delicious three-tier, rustic creation by Lauren Barnes at The Cakery [unfortunately, the contact details provided for Lauren were not working at the time this piece was written, and I was unable to find any further details]. The three flavours were lemon and pistachio, chocolate and cherry, and a classic Victoria sponge.

“I talked through my thoughts on flavours with Lauren, and she made some tasters for me to try (delicious!) and we agreed the three layers. The result was even better than I could have imagined, and Lauren decorated it perfectly using our wedding theme and some of the flowers from Folky Dokey.”

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Gourlay Events provided the catering, marquee, bar and sound system. They were fantastic to have as part of our wedding, and I found them using Marquee Hire Guide, because we had one company all set up, and with 6 months to go they pulled out, which left us very panicked, however Wendy and Alistair at Gourlay Evets were able to easily settle our nerves and put on a fantastic spread for us.”

“When the marquee arrived we helped to set it up. Because of all the rain, driving on the grass was not an option as it would ruin it just before the wedding so we (groom, Best woman, groomsmen, father and brother of the bride) helped to carry the parts to the area where we were going to have the marquee and let Gourlay Events set it up.”

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“Once it was up we helped set up the bar, and they showed me how to use the generator so that I could keep the lights on while we were setting up! We opted to set up our own tables and chairs, and after they were set up, the bridesmaids (the artistic ones!) decorated the whole marquee with ivy. The non-artistic ones helped us lay the tables!”

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“On the wedding day the catering team were fantastic. They cooked everything at the back of the marquee and brought it out. It was mouthwatering. We had a vegetarian meal: Tuscan bean stew with grilled polenta, and a meat main of slow cooked feather blade of beef, and garlic mash and roast vegetables.”

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They even came out and offered us (bride and groom) the extra meals of friends that had to cancel last minute. The bar team were also fantastic, chatty and engaging with all our guests. They were so lovely to have as part of the evening.”

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For their sweet first dance together, Jess and James chose Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, by Michael Bublé, albeit with a little surprise rendition of Cotton Eyed Joe from Jess beforehand – apparently this is a song James always chooses when he’s left to select music!

“Michael Bublé has a classically romantic voice, and the song is about telling each other that you love each other, and that the love never fades. James’ uncle organised and taught all the wedding guests the ‘Strip the Willow’ ceilidh dance. The rest of the time we made our own entertainment, and talked with all our guests who were there for us. A microphone was left for speeches, which really helped us entertain ourselves throughout the evening.”

“James: My favourite part of the day was having everyone (family and friends) that cares about us as a couple watching as we married each other. No, I wouldn’t do anything differently because everything that happened was completely us, right down to my wife forgetting her bouquet as she walked down the aisle!”

“Jess: I agree, having all of our family and friend there to celebrate with us was the best bit. The only thing I’d do differently is remember where I’d put my phone so I could remember parts of the evening!”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“James: Talk to your partner, plan what you need to get ready for the wedding, and share the jobs between you both. This will share the work and the stress.”

“Jess: Do not stress, I repeat, do not stress! I know that this will be said by everyone, but as long as you’re both there and get married everything else can just be a funny memory. My dog barked straight through the important part of the vows, and I got mud all over my dress, and guess what? It didn’t matter – we were getting married! Don’t aim for perfection, or you’ll find fault with everything.”

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From this autumn lover (and Bangor Uni graduate!) to you, Jess and James, thank you so much. It’s been wonderful to share in the joy of your day, all captured so amazingly by Lauren Elliott, too. Lauren, thank you very much.

With love,


Credits & Thanks

Laura Callan

Laura Callan View all Laura's articles

Laura is a freelance writer and content creator who loves telling stories. She has keen eye for photography and art, and lives with her husband, cats, and huge amounts of books.